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The first of the native States to come into line with the new ideas of Government in India is Travancore, the largest of the native states in the Madras Presidency, with a population of three and a half millions. This State, which has a good record for literacy, has had a Legislative Council for thirtyfour years. But whereas the original Council consisted of eight members, all nominated and six of them officials, and had little beyond advisory powers, the new Council has twentyfive members of whom a decisive majority are elected non-officials, has the right to bring its views before the Government, to discuss the Budget and even to vote on its proposals subject to certain limitations.
The Indian student is never happier than when telling us that 'the West is material while the East is spiritual'. The fact that there are thousands of Westerners in India who have no motive in being there save the uplifting of the Indians to what they regard as a higher spiritual level, and that the staple of conversation as overheard on the roads is in a surprising degree rupees, annas, and pice, makes no difference at all in the confidence with which the catchword is reiterated. But without granting the Indian's claim for a monopoly of spiritual insight one may recognize his aptitude for seizing the inner significance of a situation. Probably few Europeans saw in the arrest and imprisonment of Gandhi anything more than a temporary suspension of the career of a demagogue and the end of a troublesome episode in Indian administration. Even those who thought they knew the attitude of India in things religious have been amazed at the unanimity with which Indians of all creeds have seen in the trial and its sequel a replica of the last events in the life of Jesus; not the least surprising element in the comments being the familiarity shown with the Gospel history. The editor of the Vedic Magazine, the organ of the Arya Samaj, a society bitterly opposed to Christianity, writes thus: 'He is locked up in gaol like a felon, and yet, if history is not a tissue of falsehoods and fabrications, some day the coming generations of England will worship his memory just as the descendants of Pontius Pilate worship the memory of Jesus Christ. . . . The modern
Christ, standing with a dignified pose and a supreme equipoise in the dock and with a smiling countenance radiating heavenly repose and glances full of tender pity for the judge and the doomed system he represented, is a picture that will inspire many a minstrel to heights of poetic glory hitherto unattained and many a painter to paint pieces that will bring him eternal glory.' The editor of the Indian Social Reformer, also a non-Christian, comments thus: 'Orthodox Hindus, militant Arya Samajists, devout Mahommedans, and, of course, Brahmos, have had their minds turned to Calvary in commenting upon the event. It may be said without exaggeration that the Mahatma in jail has achieved in a short while what Christian missions had not in a hundred years with all their resources of men and money . . . he has turned India's face to Christ upon the cross'. In the puzzling story of the last days of Jesus' ministry, one fact seems clear, that a decisive factor in the success of His persecutors was His refusal to ally Himself with the political revolutionaries, His insistence that loyalty to God was of more importance than disloyalty to Caesar. The Indians have overlooked this. Yet allowing for much rhetoric and no little perversion of facts in such impassioned writings as those from which these quotations are taken, and granting that had we been in the place of the 'modern Pilate' who tried Gandhi we should have done exactly what he did, we may freely confess that we should have thought it a 'cursed spite' that we had been born to set right such a troublesome part of the world. If only instead of jails we had Wonderlands, regions where causes do not produce effects, to which we could banish our dreamers of beautiful dreams for which there seems no place in a waking world!
J. F. MCFADYEN.
The British Election.
For the first time in seventeen years a Conservative premier sits in Downing Street. The history of the upheaval which resulted in the removal of the second Lloyd George Coalition Government is fresh in the minds of all. The
original causes which led to it are to be traced a long way back. For many months past there has been a growing discontent in the right wing of the Conservative party with the conduct of affairs. Mr. Lloyd George's original Liberal followers were not personae gratae and were gradually got rid of Dr. Addison from the Ministry of Health, Mr. Montagu from the India Office. It was felt that again and again the Empire was endangered and British prestige lowered. First in Egypt and India, then in Ireland concessions were made at a time and in a way to suggest submission to a force majeure. It was over the Irish Treaty that exacerbation arose to its greatest height and it was decided that at the first opportunity Lloyd George and all his angels must go. At the commencement of this year an opening was given when the Premier, probably quite correctly interpreting popular sentiment, decided to go to the country on a cry of a pacified Ireland. Sir George Younger, chairman of the Conservative Association (the cabin boy, in Mr. Lloyd George's expressive phrase), revolted and refused permission. tensely chagrined the Premier retired to his own Welsh hills and waited. The Die-hards, however, had not the courage of their convictions or rather they had no one to put forward as leader, and Mr. Lloyd George came back to assume command.
Meanwhile European affairs, and relations with France more particularly, had been going from bad to worse. Conference after conference was held with Mr. Lloyd stirring, stimulating and pouring out torrents of eloquence while France's representatives looked coldly on or absented themselves. For many months the government's policy towards affairs in Asia Minor had been storing up for them a harvest of disaster. That this policy had been a backing of Greece against Turkey there can be no shadow of doubt. Mr. Lloyd George's speech on August 4th, just before the prorogation of parliament, is sufficient evidence of this. Mr. Bonar Law has just pointed out that the speech was issued as an Army order to the Greeks. This policy by encouraging the Greeks to military adventures beyond their power and by alienating Mohammedan sympathy led directly to the crisis of September which followed on the military debacle of the last day of
August. Events moved swiftly towards the crisis. A group of cabinet ministers of which the Foreign Secretary was not one met in Downing Street. As a result on Saturday, Sept. 16th, there was issued a theatrical summons to the Dominions to fall in behind the Motherland and defend the Dardanelles. The message was received with a puzzled cordiality on the part of the self-governing Dominions. France was deeply offended; the Entente was in imminent peril. Fortunately better counsels prevailed and Lord Curzon after a couple of visits to Paris succeeded in soothing French susceptibilities and saving the Entente. In Britain the nature and extent of the crisis was only slowly realized, but presently there arose a storm of indignation manifested in the press and caught up by organs in the various parts of the country until the note of condemnation became almost universal. Even Mr. Lloyd George's faithful ally, Mr. J. L. Garvin, editor of the Sunday Observer, turned against him. The Coalition thus attacked defended itself. Mr. Chamberlain at Birmingham pled that they were the sole barrier between the country and the bolshevism of labour rule. Then followed the Premier's defence of his policy at the Manchester Reform Club, characteristically begging the question and, instead of defending his eastern policy, violently attacking everyone all round. On October 19th Lord Salisbury, the leader of the Die-hard Conservatives, addressed his followers emphasizing that they were not bound as a party to the Coalition and dissociating himself from the view that Labour was the chief danger. Then followed the Carlton Club meeting of the Unionist members of Parliament and the Unionist Peers who were ministers, when Mr. Chamberlain, honest man, protested that he never would desert Mr. Lloyd George. Then there came forward that quiet, rather shy Canadian Scotsman who in a few words logically stated the position and obtained an overwhelming majority on the motion moved by Mr. Pretyman for the ending of the Coalition. This decision to take the plunge was in large part due to the tactical skill of Sir George Younger and was not unconnected with the result of the Newport election, where a Conservative won from a National Liberal and beat the Labour candidate soundly. This was followed im
mediately by Mr. Lloyd George's resignation, Mr. Bonar Law being summoned in his stead. There only remained the confirming of Mr. Bonar Law in the leadership of the Unionist and Conservative Parties on Monday, October 23rd. On the afternoon of the same day he kissed hands as Prime Minister and on Wednesday, October 25th, the more important appointments to his Government were announced.
Mr. Lloyd George was not the man to take his dismissal lying down. His sword flashed out at Leeds. Or after all did it flash there? It was seen at St. Pancras Station, but, as The Times remarked, somewhere en route it was lost, and although the speech was delivered with the late Premier's accustomed vigour there was something lacking. He asked whether it was worth while to overturn the government in order to substitute Lord Salisbury for Lord Balfour. Did it not occur to him that there was another substitution made? What, he said, was the difference between his policy of 'peace' and Mr. Bonar Law's policy of 'tranquillity'? Not much perhaps if the meaning of the two words be alone considered. But Mr. Lloyd George's notions of peace are too much like those of a certain pre-war potentate with a mailed fist. In any case a sigh went up, Mr. Lloyd George calls it a yawn, from the nation-a sigh of relief. As Viscount Grey put it-something not wholesome had gone out of the political atmosphere.
It would take too long to discuss the policy of the new Government as adumbrated in the new Premier's speeches, although he makes few promises or protestations. The Entente is to be saved at all costs. Friendship with France is to be cultivated. The Cabinet Secretariat, a creation of Mr. Lloyd George's, is to be moved if not removed. This means of course that the Foreign Office will assume its normal functions in the direction of foreign policy. Mr. Lloyd George may frighten us with the bogey of secret treaties but the old regular traditions of the British Government, as Mr. Garvin points out, are no set of antiquated, outworn and motheaten superstitions. They are the gradual creation of the experience of centuries and embody a mass of organized wisdom which it is sheer folly to neglect.